Cancer Patients Lessen Their Pain With Laughter

baltimoresun.com
Associated Press
December 7, 2008

NEW YORK

The off-color jokes flew around the room. As the anecdotes got bawdier, the laughter intensified. Some recited from memory; others read from notebooks they brought along.

The setting for the hilarity was the Montefiore-Einstein Cancer Center at Montefiore Hospital. The participants were cancer patients, some in advanced stages.

They were taking part in the hospital’s monthly “Strength Through Laughter” therapy. It is one of several types of humor therapy being offered by medical facilities around the country for patients diagnosed with cancer or other chronic diseases.

The programs feature joke sessions, clown appearances and funny videos.

The American Cancer Society and other medical experts say laughter reduces stress and promotes relaxation by lowering blood pressure, improves breathing and increases muscle function. More…

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